“I think wether we like it or not, we will always be “That band that did Love Bomb Baby” but we have all aged since then, we don’t wear all the makeup like back in the day, but we don’t look like a bag of shit either, we still make the effort to look cool and not look like we did at sound check.”
When it comes to defining the glam metal that ruled the world back in the late 80’s and around 1990, whilst most of the focus was on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, USA, there was a UK band that was equally worthy of a similar status, that band being Tigertailz. Young And Crazy was the bands first album, led by the single Livin’ Without You. Shortly after it’s release, the band parted ways with singer Steevi Jaimz, with Kim Hooker joining guitarist Jay Pepper, bass player Pepsi Tate and drummer Ace Finchum. What followed was Bezerk, surely one of the all time classic albums to have been released in that era. Whilst the band will forever be known for the track Love Bomb Baby, tracks such as Noise Level’s Critical and Heaven also charted, helping the album go on to sell well over 250,000 copies worldwide and crack the Top 40 album chart in the UK.
In the years that have followed, there have been many significant events in the history of Tigertailz, but none more so than the passing of bass player Pepsi Tate in 2007. With a mission to continue the legacy of Tigertailz and Pepsi, here in 2012, original members Ace Finchum and Jay Pepper have built around them a brand new band of Tigertailz warriors. Lead singer Jules Millis hails from Melbourne, Australia and would be known to many of you from The Deadthings and currently White Widdow. English man Rob Wylde takes up guitar duties and can also be found as frontman/guitarist for Teenage Casket Company and plays bass with melodic rockers Vega. Whilst slamming the bass is fellow Welshman Jason Sims, formerly of Psycho Kiss.
Having re-recorded a new version for Fall In Love Again, the proceeds will go towards supporting cancer charity Amser Justin Time. With a bunch of European shows now under their belt, including Shout It Out Loud festival in Germany, an appearance at Hard Rock Hell awaits the band in late November, along with a bunch of other UK dates.
We catch up with Ace Finchum to talk about the new lineup, some of the bands history and what awaits Tigertailz fans in 2013
Hey Ace, thanks for taking the time to chat with May The Rock Be With You! First things first, by the time you would be answering this, you will have already played your first “gig” together as the new lineup…how have all the shows gone thus far?
Sorry for the late reply bro, yeah man, the first lot of shows went real well. Jules knew all the songs inside out!! It took a few shows to gel as a band and that happened on the last date of the tour in Germany on the Shout It Out Loud Festival. It all came together and we went down so good, we knew having a new singer and practically a whole new band would be hard for long time fans to get their head around. But we just got so much love and applause it took us by surprise I think.
You have had 3 new guys join yourself and Jay in the band. Can you give us a bit of an introduction to Jules, Rob and Jason and what was it about each of them that convinced you they were the ones to lead Tigertailz into the next chapter?
Well starting with Jules, We had put out the word we needed a new singer and had an advert up on our website. We received applicants from all over the world and had to choose between three great singers in the end. But what we LOVED about Jules was the fact that number 1 – he was a fan of the band to start with, number 2 – he was a great singer and number 3 – he was so fuckin’ up for the job!! I wanted him in the band immediately, Jay wasn’t so sure. He thought it was insane to have a singer from the other side of the world so I had to work on Jay a little bit lol! But he sent an email to Jules explaining all his concerns and how the logistics were way off, Jules answered Jays email and that was it. We quickly put the rest of the puzzle together.
I knew Rob Wylde from all his other bands he had played in, thought he looked great and had decent vocals, so I asked him to come down and have a jam with Jay and I……
Same thing with Jase, I had seen him play when his band opened for a band I was in called “Marseille”. I thought he was incredible!! He was scary looking, all the tattoos you know. He came down when Rob did and Jay and I knew after the first rehearsal that we had the band sorted for sure. Jase is just a monster, his playing is very Cliff Burton/Steve Harris and it totally works with this band.
Following the departure earlier this year of Kim Hooker, was there every any consideration of getting Steevi Jaimz to come back in on vocals?
Steevi would be great for the Y & C Material, but the Bezerk material is too high, and he would tell you the same I’m sure.
You have a bunch of shows lined up to see out 2012 and I dare say that summer 2013 will see you further reinforce Tigertailz as a live act on some major festival lineups – how would you describe where the sound of Tigertailz is at with this newer lineup? For example, are you pitching at the heavier end of the Tigertailz sound?
Good question dude. Well I know Jay is definitely for the heavier end of things and his writing tends to go for a heavier guitar sound. But having said that, we left out most of the heavy songs while in Europe. People seem to really know the first two albums. Tear Your Fuckin’ Heart Out we still played. Jules and Rob wanted more of the Young and Crazy material in the set, whereas Jay and I prefer the Bezerk material. I think the new material will be in the same direction as Bezerk, Big Guitars, Big Choruses, Big Hooks!!
Speaking of the upcoming shows, how difficult was it coming up with a setlist – would you say all eras of the bands releases are covered? Did you allow the new boys on the block to throw in some of their own personal suggestions haha?
The setlist came together so easy!! As I said earlier, Jules and Rob love Young and Crazy, so they wanted to do lot’s of material from that album. Jay and I hadn’t played a lot of that material since 1990, Nine Lives for example, we both had to go back and learn it ha ha. Without knocking any of the other Tigertailz albums, the more well known material comes from the first two albums and that was evident on the tour. I never in a million years thought I would play Hollywood Killer ever again. It was fresh to play a lot of that stuff. Jase wanted Dirty Needles and Tear Your Fuckin Heart Out, so we added those as well. It was a real good set list in the end and yes, Rob, Jules and Jase had their say.
When it comes to defining Tigertailz in a musical sense, what album – or song, do you feel best represents the band?
Without a doubt Love Bomb Baby, we will forever have to play that song live ha ha!
Taking that question one step further – where do you see Tigertailz fitting into the musical landscape in 2012? At least observing from over here in Australia, the interest in hard rock/metal seems to be as alive as it has ever been in the last decade or so…
I think whether we like it or not, we will always be “That band that did Love Bomb Baby” but we have all aged since then, we don’t wear all the makeup like back in the day, but we don’t look like a bag of shit either, we still make the effort to look cool and not look like we did at sound check. I think we will fit into the “Hard Rock Band” category in 2012, not the “Glam Band” of 1980’s as the material will not be glam, as maybe Poison are glam? But more glam as say Ratt or Motley are today? But again, we will always be the Love Bomb Baby band whatever happens lol!
I appreciate that this question may be a little premature, but are there any strong plans at this stage of recording/releasing new material?
We are writing for a five track EP at this moment!
You have marked the new lineup with the release of a re-recording of ‘Fall In Love Again’ which is a tribute to Pepsi Tate and proceeds going to the charity Amser Justin Time, set up in his memory. It was just recently the 5 year anniversary of Justin’s passing, can you share a couple of your own personal memories of Justin and his legacy?
Haaaa, so many dude!! The first thing I remember when meeting Pepsi was going up to his bedroom, and you have never seen such a trashed room lol there was shit everywhere, just clothes on the floor, drawers opened and paper everywhere. He had the biggest sweet tooth in the world, always buying sweets!!
While recording the Bezerk album he got drunk one night and demolished the door to Jays bedroom in the studio, kicked it off the hinges!! When he got up the next day he went out and bought supplies and fixed the door good as new, not every day you hear of a rock star demolishing something and them fixing it haaa haaa!
Something Jay said to me, was that when he was at his sickest in the last few days of his life, not once did he moan or complain about anything! He just didn’t have a bad word for anybody, including himself.
When you go back to the early, early days, where did the band draw it’s biggest influence(s) in both a musical and visual sense?
Motley Crue, Ratt, Kix, Black N Blue, Y&T and Ozzy.
Obviously this is one of those hypothetical/hindsight type questions – but looking back to the height of Bezerk, did you ever ponder as a band/personally whether the fact you were located out of the UK/Wales allowed you greater or lesser opportunity than if you were say based out of the USA?
Oh, without a doubt we were hindered being in the UK. What proves this, and not many people know this….in 1990 we put on a private showcase for Capitol Records USA. We had hired a big studio in London, with full back line, drum riser, dry ice…the works, just to play 3 songs live for the Capitol rep that came to see us with our manager and record company owner, Martin Hooker. She watched us play the showcase and we had a quick chat afterwards and were invited out to dinner later that evening at a nice restaurant . So we all meet up later that evening and the Rep said she was blown away from the performance and told us how big we were going be in the States. She wanted to sign us!!
After two weeks of waiting, our manager told us that she had been sacked, fired from her job, along with other reps. That was our deal blown out the water?! We never really found out exactly what happened, it was all on our Managers word, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
The history of Tigertailz over the past 25+ years has certainly pretty much had everything imaginable – yet here you are rocking into a new chapter. Speaking on behalf of both yourself and Jay, what is it that motivates and drives you to still be involved in the music business and keeping the legacy of Tigertailz alive?
Well it’s not the money I can tell you that haaaa haaaa! I think at the end of the day we both enjoy creating music and playing good live shows, and of course to keep Pepsi’s dream alive and raise money for the Amser Justin Time Charity .
Thanks Ace for taking the time to do this interview, here’s an opportunity for any last words…
Thanks so much for the interest and really just to let everyone know that Tigertailz are starting a new chapter and have a great band to knock everyone’s dick in the dirt!!
Stay Tuned Boys & Girls
Band members: Jay Pepper – Guitar, Ace Finchum – Drums, Jules Millis – Vocals, Rob Wylde – Guitar, Jason Sims – Bass
Latest release: Fall In Love Again (2012, Single)